Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Battle Of The Eyeshadow Pencils!

I know I've been a little MIA the past week or so - I've been up to my tonsils in exams and work and to be perfectly honest I've only resurfaced from all the stress yesterday.

Anyway, since I'm back, I thought I'd do a 'Battle' post! This is probably going to become a series; I'm going to be putting similar products from different brands and seeing how they perform against each other.

Today is all about eyeshadow pencils. Now, eyeshadow pencils - or eyeshadow sticks - are a cream shadow housed in a stick form. They're extremely convenient, when used on their own, or can be used as a base for powder shadows.

Every brand seems to have their version of it - right from drugstore to high-end. So, what's the deal on these? Does a higher price = better quality?

Let me introduce you to the contestants:

From the drugstore

  • Jordana 12 Hr Made To Last Eyeshadow Pencil
  • Milani Shadow Eyez
  • Tarte EmphasEyes Clay Liner
  • Tarte SmolderEyes Clay Liner
  • Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick

The test:

Swatches of the product were applied on the hand. I then waited 15 seconds, then vigorously and forcefully rubbed to check for smudging and wear.

The results:

1. Jordana

Price: $3.99
Verdict: The color held pretty well, but the shimmer did smudge a bit. Still, for the price point, I can't be too picky. It makes a good base for powder shadows. It also does fade during the course of the day.

2. Milani

Price: $7.49
Verdict: I don't have to tell you; it's there in the pictures! This doesn't budge. Seriously! Once you put it on, you have a very short time to smudge it out, but once it sets, it's pretty much set. It fades very minimally during the day, but not very noticeably so. I would consider this the best product in this class available from the drugstore!

3. Tarte EmphasEyes

Price: $19.00
Verdict: It takes a longer time to set, which is good because it gives you a little more time to play. However it not only rubs off easily, it also fades at an alarming rate during the day. Do not recommend.

4. Tarte SmolderEyes

Price: $22.00
Verdict: These are creamy, smooth, and do take a while to set (similar to the EmphasEyes) but they're more sturdy than the EmphasEyes. They don't smudge, and they don't fade noticeably during the day. However, I find them a little difficult to smudge, and I suspect that dry lids might find them difficult to work with.

5. Mally 

Price: $25.00
Verdict: Okay, the 'After' picture isn't very attractive at all. These take some time to set, I agree. BUT. It really makes them easier to work with. Usually with shadow sticks I find that you can only use one color; however with these, you can actually use two or more of the shadow sticks to create a more complex look. And they also don't move at all once they set, even on hella oily lids like mine. 

6. Laura Mercier

Price: $28.00
Verdict: These are raved about, and I think I can see why. They have a lovely, creamy, smooth formula. Yes, they do take >15 seconds to set, but like the Mally sticks, this just gives you a chance to use different colors. The formula is something those of you with drier lids will appreciate. I personally like using them for a quick smokey eye. However, they can be rubbed off (if you touch your eyes too much) but they don't smudge or move about or crease.

So, what do I think? Well, I definitely think that paying more doesn't necessarily mean you get a better product. I also think that sometimes paying more might be worth it, because you get a better formula.

Hmm, that seems contradictory, doesn't it?

Well, let me sum it up:
Best for the price overall: Milani Shadow Eyes
Best formula: Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks
Highly recommended: Mally Evercolor Shadow Sticks
Worst: Tarte EmphasEyes Clay Liners

The best way to buy the LM Caviar Sticks and the Mally Evercolor Sticks are during the holidays - these companies have holiday sets that have either mini-size or full-size versions of these products for a very reasonable price. So keep an eye out for those!

What do you think? Do you use shadow sticks? What are your favorites?


  1. Rimmel and Kiko have great ones! Oh no, I need some of these now -_-

    1. I really, really want to try the Kiko ones, the have some amazing shades!

  2. I want to try Mally and Milani! both look promising

    1. You can't go wrong with either one! They're both really nice :)

  3. I really want to try the Milani one in Almond Cream (after I keep hearing Cora at Vintage or Tacky rave about how it's the perfect eyeshadow base when you're super pale!), and of course I want to own basically *all* of the LM caviar sticks ;-) But you knew that already, LOL! I love the way Jungle looks against your skintone in these pics! (as a random aside).

    1. Hahaha I'm obsessed with the LM caviar sticks too! And thank you - Jungle is one of my faves for a quick smokey eye :)